A recent online petition that aims to “make the production, sale and use of cannabis legal” has received well over 100,000 signatures, meaning that the topic must be debated in Parliament. Under current rules, if a petition reaches 10,000 signatures, there will be a “response” from government. If a petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the petition will be “considered for debate in Parliament”. According to the government website “petitions which reach 100,000 signatures are almost always debated,” which comes as positive news for all those who recognise the failure of drug prohibition and believe that the government has no right to be telling you what you can and can’t be putting in your own body.
James Richard Owen, the creator of the petition, argues that “Legalising cannabis could bring in £900m in taxes every year, save £400m on policing cannabis and create over 10,000 new jobs.” In addition, he writes that cannabis is “a substance that is safer than alcohol, and has many uses.” He finishes by pointing out that “[cannabis] is believed to have been used by humans for over 4000 years, being made illegal in the UK in 1925.”
The debate regarding legality of cannabis had already recently been in the news, after Durham Police Commissioner Ron Hogg claimed that they “are not prioritising people who have a small number of cannabis plants for their own use.” Now, after the petition has at time of writing, over 150,000 signatures; the debate over criminalisation of cannabis will only intensify, especially when it reaches Parliament.
One wish that those who signed the petition will have, is for our MP’s to treat the issue seriously. Regrettably, it is possible that the politicians could choose to ignore the evidence, and laugh of the topic as illegitimate, as Barack Obama has done in the past. However, with more and more evidence that undermines the war on drugs surfacing, prohibition advocates appear completely out of touch with public attitude towards the drug.